The Prince of Wales celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Jainology during a visit UK’s largest Jain Temple. During his visit, Prince Charles opened the refurbished Assembly Halls of the Oshwal Association of the UK and was presented with a special Ahimsa Award by the Institute of Jainology.
Following the first International Jain Conference held in London in 1983, The Institute of Jainology (IoJ) was established. It’s purpose is to promote: “Compassion and non-violence towards all living beings are the fundamental principles of Jain philosophy. Our mission is to propagate Jainism and its values through art, culture and education.”
In October 1990, representatives of Jains worldwide gathered at Buckingham Palace, to present ‘Jain Declaration on Nature’ to The Duke of Edinburgh.
Established in 1968, The Oshwal Association of the UK (OAUK) is a registered charity and the largest Jain Organisation in the UK. It comprises 15,000 members and its base in Potters Bar is home to the Jain Derasar as well as newly renovated community Assembly Halls which Charles officially opened during his visit on Thursday.
Completed in 2005, Jain Derasar in Potters Bar is the largest Jain Temple in the UK. It is the only Jain Temple in Europe to be constructed employing the ancient Indian architectural style.
The Temple is a collaboration of Indian Architecture working in conjunction with British architects and engineers. It is built in a traditional style centred on beams and counter balance, the building contains no steel and located on 80 acres of green belt land surrounded by lush landscaped gardens.
Ahimsa Day openly associates Jainism with the belief of non-violence and has been observed by the UK Jain Community since 2002.
The annual event generally takes place in October at the House of Commons to observe the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. During the celebration, the Ahimsa Award is given to those showing compassion and tolerance to humankind, animals and nature.
In honour of the Institute’s 25 years, a special Ahimsa Anniversary Award was presented to Prince Charles for his work fostering inter-faith dialogue, a better understanding of different religions and for passion for defending the environment and nature.
The compassionate Prince is known for his keen understanding and study of the various religions that are practised not only in Britain but abroad. He is recognised for fostering a dialogue between the West and Islam.
In a speech titled “Unity in Faith” at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt in March 2006, The Prince of Wales said: “We may have a human weakness to criticize and to compete with each other. But what we have in common, as people of faith, calls us beyond this towards mutual respect and understanding.”